The Ullswater Valley

 Described by William Wordsworth as “the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur”, Ullswater, surrounded by fells and woodlands,embodies all that has been written and spoken about the beauty of the area. The Ullswater Valley comprises of three main villages and several hamlets strung out over the 9 miles between Patterdale in the south and Pooley Bridge at the northern end of the lake. Here, visitors will soon discover space and a sense of freedom in an unspoiled countryside with a range of activities not only for those who relish the challenges the fells and waters of the lake can offer but also for those who may just wish to sit and quietly unwind.

Have a look at our Ullswater Valley photo galleries. There are 5 in total.
For upcoming events, visit our Ullswater Valley Events section.



Alfred Wainwright said that Patterdale rivals Borrowdale in the magnificence of it's surroundings which in itself places it in a position of some significance. Patterdale is a convenient starting point for a wide range of fell walks including the always popular ascent of Helvellyn via the not for the faint hearted narrow ridge of Striding Edge. The village and nearby has a wide choice of holiday accommodations of hotels, guest houses, bed and breakfasts, self catering holiday cottages, caravan and camping sites many of which cater for the needs of fell walkers, cyclists and water sport enthusiasts. A well stocked Patterdale village store and Post Office sells day to day essentials including a selection of locally produced foodstuff. The shop is open during the summer from 8.30am – 6pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and 8.30am – noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Winter opening times vary slightly and are 8.30am – 5.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and 8.30am to noon on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Post Office opens 8.30am – 5.30pm on Mondays; 8.30am – 3.30pm on Tuesdays; 8.30am – noon on Thursdays. Patterdale Mountain Rescue provides a walkers weather service giving information before setting out for the fells.

Patterdale Patterdale

Glenridding is the largest of the three main Ullswater Valley villages. It stands in what is without doubt one of the most beautiful settings in the Lake District & Cumbria. As with it's neighbouring community of Patterdale, Glenridding is particularly popular with walkers arriving all year round for an ascent of Helvellyn and the lower levels of the Eastern Fells. However, Glenridding is not just a destination for the serious fell walker. There's something for all ages and abilities with not too strenuous walks including a selection of “Steamer Routes” which combine lake shore paths with boat rides. The waters of the lake provide a varied choice of activities such as canoeing, kayaking, sailing and fishing. Holiday accommodation is plentiful especially an excellent range of self catering cottages. A choice of eating places includes those of lakeside hotels open to non-residents, restaurants, cafés, tearooms and pub meals. A petrol station and auto repair centre sells together with auto parts, fishing tackle, live bait, calor gas, logs, coal, firewood, wellingtons, hats and scarves. Telephone. 017684 82008.

Glenridding Tourist Information Centre
The Centre is in the main car park and open Monday to Sunday inclusive from 9.30am – 5.30pm. Telephone 017684 82414.

Glenridding Health Centre
Situated at the top of Glenridding car park. Opening times 9.30am – 11am and 4pm – 6pm.  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. On Wednesday 9.30am – 11am only. To avoid parking charges, collect a parking voucher from the surgery. When surgery is closed, telephone 017684 82297 and the call will be diverted to the Duty Doctor.

Glenridding Glenridding

Pooley Bridge
Pooley Bridge is a lovely traditional Lake District village at the northern end of Lake Ullswater whose 16th C road bridge across the River Eamont marks the old county boundary between Cumberland and Westmorland. There's several small shops selling a variety of items, cosy olde worlde pubs, and a steamer point for ferry connections to Howtown and Glenridding. Patterdale is also home to the Ullswater Yacht Club which welcomes day visitors.

Pooley Bridge

The historic market town stands a few miles to the north of Pooley Bridge and although Penrith is not within the Ullswater Valley, it is close enough to be used as a convenient base from which to explore both the Ullswater Valley and the Eden Valley. It has plenty of shops both traditional and specialist, a good choice of eating places, Banks, Post Office, Tourist Information Center, main line railway station and bus services to local and countrywide destinations. For more Penrith Information please go to our towns and villages Information Page on the main menu.


Ullswater Valley Travel Services

Bus Services
Service 508
- Operates between Penrith and Bowness-on-Windermere Pier. Calls at Pooley Bridge, Aira Force Car Park, Glenridding, Patterdale, Hartsop (Brotherswater Inn) Kirkstone Pass Inn, Troutbeck (Queens Head), Windermere Railway Station and Bowness Pier.
Service 108 - Operates between Carlisle and Patterdale calling at Penrith Railway Station, Penrith Bus Station, Pooley Bridge, Aira Force car park, Glenridding and Patterdale.
More information from or

Individual timetables for all bus services can be found at  and Cumbria County Council have produced a “Cumbria Lakesrider” guide which has all local timetables for bus and boat.

Rail Services
The nearest railway stations to the Ullswater Valley are Penrith on the main West Coast Line between London and Scotland, and, Windermere (change at Oxenholme the Lake District)

Taxi Service
M&A Taxis - Take the Stress out of motoring. CRB Checked - up to 6 passengers. Lake District tours, airport collection and drop-off, corporate work and weddings/parties. Lady drivers available.
017684 82372.

Ullswater Steamers
Connects Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge.

Ullswater Bus & Boat Ticket
This allows a return journey on bus service 108 including a boat trip.

Stagecoach Explorer Visitor Tickets
Details of these from Stagecoach Bus Company or the the Glenridding Tourist Information Centre.

Bespoke Tours
A tour and transfer service offering collection and return from and to all UK. airports, rail stations and ferry terminals plus itineraries of all the best places to see in the Lake District & Cumbria. It also provides motoring tours for small groups of up to 6 people in air conditioned People Carriers but larger groups may be accepted by prior arrangement.
Telephone: 01768 864825 or go to

Places to see and things to do in Ullswater Valley

Daffodils in the Ullswater Valley
The daffodil is for many the welcoming face of Spring and nowhere more so than when seen on a lakeside framed against a backdrop of the Lake District & Cumbrian fells. As the principal character of what is probably William Wordsworth's best known poem, the daffodils all too brief Springtime appearance has become a key visitor attraction not only to the waters and woodlands of the Ullswater valley but to the whole of the Lake District & Cumbria. Visitors to the region will find a wealth of colour from late march until early April in places such as Grasmere's Daffodil Garden; Dora's Field in Rydal; Brantwood on the shores of Coniston Water; Brigsteer Woods near Levens and the Furness Peninsula close to the River Duddon. Most churchyards also have fine displays.

This, the smallest of the Lake District & Cumbria lakes is one of the first sights on the descent of the steep Kirkstone pass into the Ullswater valley. It is said to have been so named following the drowning of two brothers who fell through the ice in a winter of the 17th C. There's a car park nearby leading to pleasant lakeside and woodland walks with wonderful fell views.

Daffodils Boat adventures Brotherswater

Aira Force
This is probably the most visited waterfall in the Lake District & Cumbria and is certainly a major Ullswater Valley attraction. Here in woodlands close to the junction of the A592 and A5091, the waters of Aira Beck drop 20 metres  into a narrow gorge. Excellent viewing points from the bridges above and below. Particularly impressive after heavy rain. Please note that paths to to Aira Force are steep in places and unsuitable for push chairs. Information stewards are based at the nearby car park during the summer season. More details from Glenridding Tourist Information Centre.

Aira Force

Grisedale Tarn
A small area of water 3 miles to the east of Ullswater along the Grisedale Valley sandwiched between the fells of Fairfield and Dollywagon Pike is a site of Lake District & Cumbrian folklore. Legend says that the ancient crown of the King of Cumbria lays under the waters where it was hidden after the defeat of Dunmail in a battle between the Celts and Anglo Saxons in 945AD.
Not far below the tarn's outflow where it becomes Grisedale Beck is the "Brother's Parting Stone", a memorial to William Wordsworths brother John and marks the place where in September 1800, William and John unknowingly said their last "goodbye" to each other. John was to be lost at sea whilst commanding the "Earl of Abergavenny" which sank in 1805 with the loss of almost 300 sailors. John's sword is displayed at Rydal Mount. Canon Rawnsley, arranged for Wordsworth's tribute to his brother to be carved on the rock in the 1880's. It reads:

"Here did we stop and here looked around
While each in to himself descends
For that last thought of parting friends
That is not to be found.

Brother and friend, if verse of mine
Have power to make thy virtues known,
Here let a memorial stone
Stand sacred as a shrine".

Lanty's Tarn
A picturesque setting surrounded by woodland on Birkhouse moor about 3 miles on foot from Glenridding. Good views of Lake Ullswater and impressive mountain scenery en-route.
From the tarn, take the short climb on to Keldas which is a well loved vantage point for views of Ullswater, St Sunday Crag and the ridges leading to Nethermost Pike and Dollywaggon Pike. For tales of the Glenridding Griffin of Lanty's Tarn go to

Red Tarn
Standing at 2356 feet below Striding Edge, Red Tarn is one of the highest tarns in the Lake District & Cumbria. People often camp here overnight in order to climb Helvellyn at dawn for views of the sunrise.

Glencoyne Bay
A lakeside area opposite Glencoyne Woods forever linked to William Wordsworth's poem of “Daffodils”.

Lakeland Llama Treks
Llama trekking is a great way to experience the countryside, meet new people and de-stress,all at the same time.
Lead one of these calm and delightful creatures through the spectacular Lake District in Cumbria, stopping off to enjoy our freshly prepared picnics en route.
For more information:
Phone: 01768 889389

Penrith Museum
Open all year with free admission. The museum housed together with Penrith Tourist Information Centre displays a collection of geology, art and social history. The art collections include paintings by 17th C Dutch and Flemish artists. Telephone. 01768 865105.

Dalemain House and Gardens
The historic house and gardens dating back to Saxon times are not far from the Ullswater Valley. Dalemain is a family home of Tudor and medieval rooms and buildings open to the public from Sunday to Thursday from 11.45am until 4pm. Guided tours at 11.15am. Gardens, tearoom and gift shop open from 10.30am until 5pm.

Rheged is the largest visitor attraction to open in the Lake District & Cumbria. Situated in Britain's largest grass covered building, the centrepiece is a 6 storey high cinema screen featuring a journey back through 2000 years of Lake District & Cumbrian history. The centre is open all year and includes an outdoor adventure play area, a Tourist Information Centre, restaurant, coffee shop, speciality shops and conference facilities.

Brougham Castle
Much survives of this 13th C castle standing near Penrith close to the River Eamont. Open to the public during summer months.

Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre
Situated in the walled garden of Lowther castle. Visitors are able to see at close hand, falcons, hawks, eagles, buzzards and owls from this country and abroad. There are flying displays every afternoon beginning at 2pm. The aim of the Centre is to conserve birds of prey and to care for orphaned or injured birds before releasing them back to the wild. Telephone 01931-712746.
Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre, Lowther castle Grounds. Lowther, near Penrith.

Greystoke Swimming Pool
Heated open-air swimming pool in Penrith. Telephone 01768 483637.

Penrith Leisure Centre
A full range of facilities makes this popular with older people. It offers 6 Court Indoor Sports Hall, 6 Rink Indoor Bowls Green, Sauna, Fitness Suite, Floodlit Artificial Turf Pitch, 25 metre Swimming Pool, 13 metre Learner Swimming Pool, Climbing Wall, Multi Purpose Activity Rooms, Meet & Conference Facilities, Cafe Bar, Group Fitness Classes, Swimming Lessons and children's Parties.
Open Monday to Friday 6.30am – 10pm and weekends from 7.30am – 9pm. Telephone 01768 863450.

Rookin House Farm
A well established adventure centre offering a wide range of outdoor activities with a strong focus on fun and safety. Only 4 miles from Ullswater and 8 miles from Penrith. Open all year. Telephone 01768-483561

Blue Badge Tours
Half or full day tours of the area. Anything and everything to do with fell walking and touring. Itineraries prepared. For full details call Tom McCafferty on 01229-774939 or go to

Cumbrian Discoveries
Blue badge Guiding Services offering sightseeing tours and walking tours. For details call 017684 84811.

Glenridding Guides
The Guides are a small walking and climbing Company based in Glenridding. They will provide guides to plan and walk the routes, provide courses in summer and winter navigation, wild camping, winter skills, and, for those wanting to rock climb or abseiling, they have access to “crags” which are only a short walk from Glenridding. For more details contact Steve on mobile 07762637930 or 017684 82957. Email Steve

Reach Beyond Adventure
A local outdoor adventure company offering a wide range of outdoor activities in and around the Ullswater Valley. These include canoeing, guided walking, ridge scrambling, climbing, ghyll scrambling, bush craft, outdoor first aid training and more. Telephone 017684-83867 or email

Ullswater Canoe Trail
The trail enables visitors and locals to canoe through the wonderful Ullswater scenery. Leaflet available from the Glenridding Tourist Information Centre or call Eden Rivers Trust 01768 866788.

Glenridding Sailing Centre
The centre provides a wide range of sailing dinghies, canoes and kayaks. Expert tuition is available and even if you bring your own boat you can use the facilities and launch from the site for a small daily or weekly fee. Qualified and experienced help is available every day from march until the end of October.

Eden Outdoor Adventures
A family run company offering courses for small groups and families in canoeing, rock climbing, walking and mountaineering.  Telephone 07525 653099.

Lake Cruises
A variety of cruise options operating between Glenridding, Howtown and Pooley Bridge. Check details and timetables at Ullswater Steamers, Glenridding.

Kirkstone Pass Inn
Standing on the summit of the 1500 feet of Kirkstone Pass which links Windermere and Patterdale and the highest inhabited building in Cumbria, the Kirkstone Pass Inn has been serving thirsty and hungry travellers for over 500 years. Fantastic views on a clear day from the beer garden many of which have been recorded on film, canvas, literature and verse.
Telephone 015394-33888 Email or visit

Grisedale Tarn Kirkstone Pass Lanty's Tarn


Family Walks, Fell Walks, Long Distance

As Wainwright said “The fleeting hours of life of those who love the fells are quickly spent, but the fells are eternal”.

The Glenridding Tourist Information Centre  and sites such as (eastern fell walks) or show a full range of recommended walks designed for all ages and abilities. Here we show a few of the less demanding which are suitable for families and children.

Tale Trails - Family walks around the Ullswater area, have fun, search for clues and combine the trail with a steamer journey.
Hetti the Carvetii of Pooley Bridge; The Grumbletrog of Cliburn Moss; The Nozomi Bird of  Aira Force; Pip the Impossible of Lowther, the Glenridding Griffin and Eric the Curious of Hallin Fell.
Call Anja for details 07939 074197 or go to to find the nearest trail.

Howtown to Glenridding
Take the steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and walk back along the lakeside paths. Lovely views en-route and plenty of places to stop to rest, picnic and admire the scenery.

Pooley Bridge to Howtown
A popular lake-shore walk in either direction.

Patterdale to Brotherswater
Little more than a gentle stroll along the valley.

Howtown to the village of Martindale
A valley walk on the shores of the lake.

Patterdale to Grisedale Beck
A lovely valley walk.

Patterdale to Arnison Crag
This requires a little more effort with an ascent of about 1500 feet.

Place Fell
Standing at the head of Ullswater, a walk to the summit of 2156 feet is what Wainwright described as “a most beautiful and rewarding walk”. Superb views from the top over the whole Helvellyn range. His route suggestion is to start from Patterdale and go via Boredale House and return via Howtown along the lake shore to Patterdale.

Ullswater Annual Events

Patterdale Dog Day
Held on the Saturday of August Bank Holiday weekend on the King George V Playing Fields, Patterdale. The show features sheepdog trials, hound trails, hound show, terrier show, fell racing, children's fell race, a stick show, Cumberland & Westmorland wrestling, refreshments and trade stands.

Ullswater Fair
Takes place on King George V Playing Fields, Patterdale. Fell races, dog competitions, children's events and much more.

Ullswater Outdoor Festival
A week of lakeside activities, mountain biking, sailing, kayaking, waterfall walks, energetic hikes, remote peak ascents, family steamer cruises, romantic walks and woodland trails. Email

Patterdale Parish Boundary Walk
An event to raise funds for the local school and church.

Lord Birkett Trophy Cup
A prestigious sailing event in memory of Lord Birkett held by the Ullswater Yacht Club. The event comprises of two races both of which cover the full 9 miles length of the lake.

Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay
This is an annual mountain race from Sykeside Camp-site in Brotherswater to Patterdale. Usually held in October.

Food and Drink

Llama Karma Kafe
Take tea with a llama!....the home of Lakeland Llama Treks. This quirky and unusual bistro style café offers scrumptious local food and a range of gifts and crafts.